Olympic Hopefuls Make Historic Splash in Lima 2019 Pan Am Games

Posted - News Posted for ISA News, Peru News, World Surfing News.

Shortboard and longboard disciplines open surfing competition at Punta Rocas

Brazil’s Robson Santos and Ecuador’s Dominic Barona earn highest shortboard heat totals

Brazil’s Chloe Calmon and Argentina’s Surfiel Gil shine with graceful longboard style

Surfing competition officially opened on Monday morning at the Lima 2019 Pan American Games as the men and women shortboard surfers began their quests towards qualification at Tokyo 2020.

The top finishing eligible man and woman of the shortboard discipline will earn a qualification slot in Surfing’s Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020, adding a layer of drama and excitement to the event.

Crowds funneled into Punta Rocas to see the competition – the first time that any surfing discipline has featured on the Sports Programme of the Pan Am Games. Shortboard, Longboard, SUP Racing and SUP Surfing are all making their debut in the Games during the week of competition.

Brazil’s Robson Santos was the standout male performer in the shortboard division, marking the highest wave score (7.5) and heat total (14.5).

Brazil's Robson Santos nabs the highest heat total of the day. Photo: Latinwave

Brazil’s Robson Santos nabs the highest heat total of the day. Photo: Latinwave

Peru’s local Lucca Mesinas ignited cheers from the local crowd with the second highest heat total of 14.34.

Costa Rica’s Noe Mar McGonagle and Argentina’s Leandro Usuna, both past ISA World Surfing Games Champions, advanced into Round 2 of the Main Event.

“Stoked to make my heat,” said McGonagle. “Little by little I’m trying to get the Gold Medal and make it to Tokyo 2020. There are still a lot of hard heats coming up, but it’s great to get the first one out of the way.”

Usuna added, “This is an amazing time in Surfing in the Olympic era. I can’t believe I’m living it. I’m in the moment and enjoying it.”

Ecuador’s Dominic Barona and Argentina’s Ornella Pellizzari shined in the women’s shortboard competition, notching the highest heat totals of the round with 13.5 and 13.33, respectively.

Canada’s Bethany Zelasko advanced onto the second round and expressed her eagerness to claim the woman’s spot for Tokyo 2020.

“It’s amazing to surf great waves in a competition,” said Zelasko. “I really want a spot in Tokyo and I am looking to do it here in Peru.”

Bethany Zelasko (CAN) winning her first heat and looking for her pass to Tokyo 2020. Photo: Latinwave

Bethany Zelasko (CAN) winning her first heat and looking for her pass to Tokyo 2020. Photo: Latinwave

The longboard discipline also debuted on Monday as the top athletes of the continent put the grace and style of the sport on display.

The top longboard scores were earned by Brazil’s Chloe Calmon in the women’s division and Argentina’s Surfiel Gil in the men’s division.

The surfing competition at the Pan Am Games uses a double elimination Repechage format. Surfers that lose in the Main Event get a second chance to advance in the Repechage Rounds, where heats are single elimination. The winner of the Repechage Rounds faces off against the winner of the Main Event to determine the Gold Medalist.

ISA President Fernando Aguerre said:

“It brings us great joy and emotion to see our dreams coming true today and watch surfing competition seamlessly integrate into the Pan Am Games.

“It’s been 25 years since I first attended the Pan American Games in Mar del Plata, Argentina. I met with the late head of Panam Sports Mario Vazquez Raña during those Games and he told me to persevere and not give up in our pursuit of inclusion.

“I never thought about giving up, but it was a long paddle into today’s opening heat at Punta Rocas.

“Now Surfing is officially a Pan American Games sport. I can hardly believe it. Living the dream with the millions of surfing fans around the Americas and the world.”

The forecast is calling for large surf for Tuesday’s competition, with sets reaching well overhead to double overhead. Shortboard will take to the water once again on Tuesday and SUP Surfing will kick off in the competition.

Click here to view the updated heats and schedule.

The Lima 2019 Pan Am Games will be broadcast live July 30 – August 4. To find out where and when you can watch, check the listing with the respective Lima 2019 broadcast rights holder in your country.

Live scoring and results will be available on the homepage of www.isasurf.org as well as on the Lima 2019 surfing web page.

About the International Surfing Association:

The International Surfing Association (ISA), founded in 1964, is recognized by the International Olympic Committee as the World Governing Authority for Surfing. The ISA governs and defines Surfing as Shortboard, Longboard & Bodyboarding, StandUp Paddle (SUP) Racing and Surfing, Para Surfing, Bodysurfing, Wakesurfing, and all other wave riding activities on any type of waves, and on flat water using wave riding equipment. The ISA crowned its first Men’s and Women’s World Champions in 1964. It crowned the first Big Wave World Champion in 1965; World Junior Champion in 1980; World Kneeboard Champions in 1982; World Longboard Surfing and World Bodyboard Champions in 1988; World Tandem Surfing Champions in 2006; World Masters Champions in 2007; World StandUp Paddle (SUP, both surfing and racing) and Paddleboard Champions in 2012; and World Para Surfing Champions in 2015.

ISA membership includes the surfing National Federations of 108 countries on five continents. The ISA is presided over by Fernando Aguerre (ARG). The Executive Committee includes four Vice-Presidents Karín Sierralta (PER), Kirsty Coventry (ZIM), Casper Steinfath (DEN) and Barbara Kendall (NZL), Athletes’ Commission Chair Justine Dupont (FRA), Regular Members Atsushi Sakai (JPN) and Jean Luc Arassus (FRA) and ISA Executive Director Robert Fasulo as Ex-officio Member.

Its headquarters are located in La Jolla, California (USA).